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San Francisco Zoos & aquariums

Our most recommended San Francisco Zoos & aquariums

San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

1. San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

Visit the San Francisco Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals and 250 species of plants. Your full-day admission ticket includes access to the Leanne Roberts African Region and the Valentine Family Savanna. Both zones offer multi-species landscapes with giraffes, zebras, kudu, ostriches, storks, and more. At Hearst Grizzly Gulch, get nose-to-nose with rescued grizzly bear sisters Kachina and Kiona. See how lemurs leap through the Lipman Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country. Marvel at Penguin Island, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins outside of the wild. Admire the Zoo's gorillas in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve. Feed and pet the farm animals in the Fisher Family Children's Zoo. Find the historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel and 1904 miniature Little Puffer Steam Train. Learn about the fun rides, educational programs, and exciting events for children.

San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences Entry Ticket

2. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences Entry Ticket

Visit the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The superb complex incorporates all 4 attractions under one living roof, with exhibits and shows that explain the universe! Don’t miss the African penguins – and 38,000 other live animals – at the California Academy of Sciences in the heart of Golden Gate Park, a must-see attraction in San Francisco. Rocket through the galaxy at the speed of light or journey deep into the oceans of the world as the Academy boldly brings life to life. Come face-to-face with snakes and piranhas, meet Claude the American alligator with albinism, and hang out with Pierre, Howard, Ocio, and the rest of the South African penguin colony. Stroll through the rainforest dome with its free-flying birds and butterflies and become immersed in the rainforests of Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica, and the flooded Amazon. Discover Borneo bats, chameleons, poison dart frogs, leaf cutter ants, gliders, snakes, and so much more. Catch the latest amazing digital planetarium show, taking you on a spectacular journey to the far reaches of the universe, held 7-10 times a day. Designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum housed under a living roof will inspire lifelong curiosity for the natural world as you experience the depths of a Philippine coral reef, climb into the canopy of a Costa Rican rainforest, and fly to the outer reaches of the universe.

From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

3. From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

Discover the scenic coastline of California on a day trip by air-conditioned bus from San Francisco. Visit the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Travel scenic California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, famous for its spectacular ocean views, abundant wildlife, and historical past. Stop at Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, where there are great shops and restaurants overlooking the Pacific. Next, travel through the famous 17-Mile Drive and see Pebble Beach Golf Course. Photo stops will be made along this gorgeous drive.  Your tour continues to Carmel by the sea where ample time is given to walk through this charming town dotted with lovely shops, and beautiful architecture.

San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

4. San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

Explore the beauty and wonder of San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay with this entrance ticket, giving you access to the 3 main exhibit halls. Discover the amazingly diverse marine life that lives beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. Explore the “Discover the Bay” exhibit, highlighting the unique ecosystem that provides a home to a diverse selection of marine life. The exhibits feature more than 20,000 aquatic animals. Learn all about this delicate underwater habitat and the need for its conservation. Then, experience the magic of the habitat at “Touch the Bay,” complete with tide pools where you can touch the creatures that patrol San Francisco Bay’s waters. No trip to Aquarium of the Bay would be complete without a visit to the North American River Otter Gallery, where frisky river otters romp, swim, sleep and play. Get a scuba diver’s view of San Francisco Bay at the Aquarium of the Bay’s most iconic exhibit, “Under the Bay.” As you walk through the tunnels, you’ll see fascinating jellyfish, watch schools of fish that swim near the shore, see delicate starfish, and view larger fish, such as sharks, rays, and sturgeons, which live in the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay.

San Fran: Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur Full-Day Private Tour

5. San Fran: Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur Full-Day Private Tour

Explore the Big Sur and Monterey areas of California at your own pace, and avoid the hassle of organized bus tours. Traveling by private car, enjoy the comfort of seeing the places you want to see without worrying about your departure or arrival time. Learn more about the famous landmarks with a reliable service, offering maximum security and, most of all, the best level of hospitality in the industry. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in San Francisco (pick-ups in other cities in the Bay Area are available on arrangement), get recommendations on the best places to stop to take pictures or explore further; you decide where you want to go. Take a scenic drive from San Francisco to Carmel and Big Sur via State Route 1, the north-south highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of California. Travel the forested road of 17-Mile Drive. Discover the Mission District and Monterey Bay Aquarium. See all the sights of Fisherman's Wharf. Drive down to the Big Sur Bixby Creek Bridge, and marvel at the flora and fauna of Poit Lobos State Reserve south of Carmel before your return to San Francisco.

California Academy of Sciences Thursday NightLife Admission

6. California Academy of Sciences Thursday NightLife Admission

Visit the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-natural history museum at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Enjoy all 4 attractions under one living roof, with exhibits and shows that explain the universe. Explore these exhibits and more during Thursday’s festive 21+ only NightLife event, and sip on a beer, wine, or unique specialty cocktail available for purchase at the bars throughout the museum. Once in the museum, catch the latest spectacular digital planetarium show and rocket through the galaxy at the speed of light to the far reaches of the universe. Journey deep into the oceans of the world in the aquarium. Come face-to-face with snakes and piranhas, meet Claude the albino alligator, and hang out with a South African penguin colony. Stroll through the rainforest dome with its free-flying birds and butterflies. Each week features a unique theme, blending fun with science in an informal social environment. Past highlights have included pop-up art galleries; science-themed comedy; sustainable seafood cooking demonstrations; and talks by notable figures like Buzz Aldrin. Academy scientists are also on-hand to discuss the “science love stories” behind their infatuations with spiders, sea slugs, parasites, and other fascinating topics. During summer months, the Academy presents NightLife LIVE, a music series featuring emerging bands and musicians live on an outdoor garden stage, cutting-edge art installations, and hands-on science demonstrations.

San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

7. San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

Begin your tour by traveling south on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway 1. Head to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. At your first rest stop in Davenport, you will have a chance to take a selfie with the whole Pacific as your backdrop.  At Monterey, you will have 2 hours on your own to explore. You can visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, rent a kayak or paddleboard, hike along the coast, or take a bike to roam. You can also stroll among the quaint boutiques and art shops along the historic Cannery Row. Grab a seafood lunch at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.  Enjoy another eyeful of Pacific beauty along the scenic 17-Mile Drive through Del Monte Forest and take photographs of the hardy Lone Cyprus Tree. This famous road winds its way by magnificent homes and the spectacular coastline, between the greens and tees of world famous golf courses, and among the last remaining forest of a rare species of the Monterey Cypress.  Your scenic drive finishes at Pebble Beach Village. Upon arrival in the enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can explore the boutique shops on Ocean Avenue and be dazzled by the white sandy beach. If there is time, you can visit the historic Carmel Mission. Then, it will be time to head back to San Francisco. 

San Francisco: 5-Hour California's Redwoods & Aquarium

8. San Francisco: 5-Hour California's Redwoods & Aquarium

Experience California's coastal redwood forest during your trip to Muir Woods National Monument. Then, take a drive through the quaint seaside village of Sausalito. At your leisure, visit the Aquarium of the Bay and marvel at the marine life larking below the San Francisco Bay waters. This 5-hour tour offers three convenient departure times to best suit your schedule. Venture north over the Golden Gate Bridge to an isolated canyon filled with ancient coastal redwood trees, also known as Muir Woods National Monument. Enjoy solitude and peace, through the cool, moist air, as you stroll through 1000-year-old trees towering 260 feet tall. Experience the awe and wonder as you are treated through Northern California’s signature fog, while you wander in and out of the Mother Nature’s redwood alleyways. The canopy of coastal redwoods soaring above will stimulate all of your senses as you journey through a piece of ancient California history. You will never forget the crisp, fresh redwood fragrance that will surround you on your journey to the majestic Muir Woods National Monument. Entrance fee into Muir Woods is included in the tour. Lastly, enjoy a scenic drive through the quaint seaside town of Sausalito – a Mediterranean-like village harbored across the San Francisco Bay, famous for its sweeping views, timeless sophistication, local boutiques and cafes. (As an option — Extend your time and add on the ferry return.) Following your visit to California's famous coastal redwoods, enjoy a visit to the Aquarium of the Bay to experience the local marine life beneath San Francisco.  The Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 focuses on restoring the local habitat of San Francisco and her marine life. Experience the awe and wonder of the Aquarium's jellies habitat, featuring Moon Jellies and Pacific Sea Nettles. Continuing on, in the crystal aqua tunnel, you'll see a dynamic near shore habitat that includes swirling schools of Anchovies, giant Sea Bass and colorful Sea Stars. Explore the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay in the second crystal clear tunnel habitat. This trip will surely give you the best experience of San Francisco Bay's wildlife and marine culture. (The visit to the aquarium can be enjoyed at your own leisure throughout the day, open ticket). 

Frequently asked questions about San Francisco

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What are the best day trips and excursions from San Francisco?

The best day trips and excursions from San Francisco are:

Yosemite National Park

Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco

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What people are saying about San Francisco

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 245 reviews

Get your guide tickets worked well. We enjoyed the planitorim shows, rain forest and many other exhibits. Worth the price, family enjoyed it, kid is happy. Parking is 33$(max) but very convenient.

Great for kids, teens and adults. There is much to see and do. The food court area has a very good selection of food (even for my picky eater) Overall, it was a fun time with the family.

A wonderful experience for all ages...something for everyone. Amazing exhibits...that really simulate natural environments. Penguins were the best!

Great driver and guide. The coast is beyond spectacular. Really great tour.

It’s a great experience to visit there . Kid learn a lot and have fun!